Jury goes into deliberation Monday to decide fate of Larry Inman
The fifth day of the federal criminal trial against State Rep. Larry Inman ended with no verdict Monday as the jury deliberates the case into Tuesday.
The lawmaker faces up to 20 years in prison for the extortion charge alone.
Monday started with Inman, (R-Willamsburg) finishing his testimony, where he said that at one point in 2018 he was taking 20 to 25 opioid pills a day. The other witnesses called during the day were two of the representative’s former doctors.
Inman’s podiatrist Dr. Dan Lathrup said that Inman never told him how many painkillers he was taking, adding he was astounded to discover Inman was hoarding spare medication in an orange shoebox that was presented in court.
“I never suspected it,” Lathrup said.
In his closing statement to the jury, U.S. prosecutor Chris O’Connor parsed through text messages that Inman sent to lobbyists. O’Connor said in Inman's text to Lisa Canada from June 2018 the lawmaker clearly asks for a bribe.
“The defendant’s own words tie this request for campaign money to a specific vote,” O’Conner said.
Projecting pictures of the texts to the jury, O’Conner disputed the defense’s argument that Inman was under the influence of narcotics and can’t account for their meaning.
“The defendant wants you to believe these texts were gibberish,” O’Conner said. “There’s no evidence of mental confusion in these messages.”
O’Conner also cited conflicting statements Inman allegedly gave to the FBI on the rationale for his vote.
Inman's attorney, Chris Cooke, addressed the three charges against his client individually in his closing statement. On extortion, Cooke said that charge is based around a handful of texts the lawmaker allegedly sent to lobbyists. Cooke insists those texts are open to interpretation, and that investigators singled out those texts, removed their context and used them to charge Inman.
“They found a handful of text messages,” Cooke said. “If my client was an extortionist, wouldn’t there be lots more information than that?”
Cooke also argued that no witnesses called to the stand ever testified to hearing Inman definitively offer a "quid pro quo" in person. He insists the only evidence of that would exist in the lawmaker’s texts, whose meaning and context Cooke said is up for debate.
He also cautioned the jury from allowing the federal government to convict someone based on text messages alone. Reflecting arguments Cooke has made to get the case dismissed, he said that could set a dangerous precedent.
Cooke ended his statement citing testimony from multiple witnesses that said Inman behaved ethically and legally in their interactions with them.
The jury deliberated for four hours on Monday and will resume Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.